Monday, January 18, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The camera pans. GoogleEarth zooms down to Lake Katrine, to a bed near a window where a 35 year old man stares or sleeps. He's my boy, my child and for so many seemingly lame reasons, it is rare I can hold his hand. He's 100 miles away, being otherwise “cared” for, but in the end they don't care. IN point of fact a tiny piece of a percentage of the money being sent to help that other father and his poor, wandering neighbors, is all that prevents my boy from being closer to me when he dies. See, it is a fact that the general pool of brain injured people die after about 15-20 years. The ones who got deeply hurt, who almost never wake up, they tend to die easier and last fewer years. So it is not with a conspiracy I fear for my boy, it is time, and time is hard to avoid.
Jon could have been a father, should have been, would have been a good one, maybe if we didn't fight about how he was raised. I tend to interfere and that isn't something I'd want to hang on to. I might get a TV star to raise awareness of Jon and have his sperm extracted to give us a child to carry on his name. Oh, that would have ratings and hate mail. But I would much rather Jon hand over his own child, made by him, than some quasi-verse where we can skip past Jon to his child's life. There are so many reasons I could give for Jon being nearby, healthy or not, conscious or not. Jon may be the only man never to tell me to shut up, to let me prattle on about politics or faith. But I know I do not know he hears me, it is a matter of faith.
I do know that my body finds it hard to bear the pain and the liminal points, the edges and joints, are thinning a bit. In fact several are starting to go away, making it harder to take a 2 hour drive to be with my son so I can chat with him, possibly, almost certainly stimulating a few new cells to procreate, my boy trying to get control of his lungs and mouth so he can at long last ask me to change the channel or just shut up for a change. Failing that everyday stimulation from someone who loves him, my boy will most certainly die before I do. It is not hard to imagine him doing it alone, in a white bed, by a window, but not being able to look out at the sky. I can't even hang a poster from the ceiling for him to stare at, because, of course, the nurses and staff could not do what they have to do to keep his body clean and free from infection. An infection run wild, anti-biotic resistant, will eventually give him a pneumonia from which he will not recover. They will probably give me his ashes, or I may have to chase them down.
So it is I observe a Haitian man frantically staring all around at the bodies, trying to find his child, and fearing that he will find his child.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Now, for a moment, I want you to see things through different eyes. I want you to see things filtered by some category or another and I want you to lose yourself in that perception. I am used to disappointments. Here's the thing: I am here digesting the contents of an imported beer, contemplating the idea of getting up and brewing up a 5 gallon batch of brown ale. I'd use the water from our well, our new, deep well. So the beer would be digesting malts and such using local water and local minerals. It would have a certain dialect. That beer would sit in my basement for a week or three, and then I'd be drinking it, rather than one imported from England. I like England. But I digest.
Over there, sitting on the couch which was made in Denmark in the 70's, eating her crunchy sandwich and thinking about school, is my sister-in-law. She's digesting food made somewhere between 100 and 3,000 miles away and shipped through an armada of vessels allowing us to have lettuce in our sandwich.
Outside I can see a little red squirrel eating the last of a corn cob. His stomach can handle what the stomachs of the jays could not. Actually, his intestine is processing the cob through the actions of some little critters about a cell wide, or if you get technical you'd have to admit that even at that scale there is a lot of sub-contracting going on, so they are about two cells wide. They are unions of specialists, each able to do a limited set of actions on something pressing against them, like a slurry of cob, seed, dirt and maybe suet. Like an assembly line the stuff that passes is added to or subtracted from, and the final product becomes food for the next down the line. The sunflowers that the squirrel favors are flavored with poop from the squirrel that favored them. Neat. But I digest.
Now see me at my table, my sister-in-law on the couch, the red squirrel on the tip of the elderberry shrub, just those three entities. Ah! Now see, in a simultaneous shift, just the intestines with the sub-contractors and digesters all working in such a way as to create heat, housing, employment, raw materials and social intercourse. Ah! It's slimy, I suppose, but still those wriggling tubes of shit and workers are analogous to a string of small towns and strip malls alongside a freeway or local highway. The people aren't the same color, but hey, what the hell? See those struggling worker unions, those hardhats and picket lines. That's our body, but that's our body expanded to relate to everything else. That's our local environment imprinted on our own DNA from drinking the water, eating the eggs and walking the walk. We aren't what we eat so much as we are what eats us, as well as how we handle the changes.
So now, looking at those twisting colonies of entities you should be able to notice the patterns of correspondence re the squirrel, the two humans AND as we refocus our eyes to acknowledge the earth beneath the squirrel is teeming with those unions, the couch has billions of entities working in and out of tandem, just getting by. My skin, my hair, my dog, all teem with workers changing one environment into another. We're getting beyond surfaces here. We're seeing our reflection on every facet of our environment. When the sun shines we are blinded by our presence. Except it is also the presence of the red squirrel, The earth itself and all the faces turned to behold that which holds us. It's fascinating.
I saw a red squirrel with a corn cob in it's mouth, chasing another red squirrel who had none, no doubt proving Darwin was squirrely. Who was directing the fight, the flight, the request and refusal? Who was it, the two sacks of little bitty workers hungry for more stuff to process, or the little squirrel brains which handled the chattering and scratching? Was it deeper than that? Do molecules crave carbon and oxygen? Do they whore themselves if needed for a nice oxygen fix? The earth, the Earth, Urda, all consume mountains of us all, taking us all in and changing us into nice oaks and poplars. That “sack” of critters is my Mom, I'll have you know! She's everything a boy could need, and more. She's everywhere, she will never stand you up. She might let you die. In fact, she most certainly will.
I could never eat a corn cob, neither could my sister-in-law. Our guts would not stand for it, the unions would go on strike. If you want to eat a corn cob, wait a bit and eat a squirrel, it's the same thing. It will taste like chicken. But I digest.
What would a sustainable life feel like? What if the critters eating that beer knew that in about 30 years the whole neighborhood would go to shit? Would they be long dead, or reincarnated into some other living entity? Would they just move into the Earth and start digesting there? Eventually the region would start to show promise as more minerals and critters died and were reborn. One day some being would harvest the wild fruit and make a fine beer or wine and have a moment when they realized how every living thing was related directly and indirectly to a common source of life and sustenance. Our old pall David Korten failed to name Her, but She has so many names...
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
But what if it falls down? Then it isn't a bridge any more? But the rust is still there, the steel, the paint, all there. Pigeon shit may wash off, but it stays long enough to argue the case for the bridge. Then it flows downstream and the bridge rusts, the steel breaks down and the sands take up the color of the old bridge. Something was missing after the bridge came down, something left. Maybe the bridge had a soul, and maybe few could see the soul of the bridge in the steel cables and asphalt drives.
Now somebody took a picture of that bridge in an early morning fog and developed it in platinum and they hung it in a great gallery. It hangs there today. People who look at it can smell the fog, hear the birds and the rumble of the trucks. They sense the soul of that bridge. So that's where the soul went? Were the Plains Indians right to worry about the camera? Some young lover wrote a passionate poem, an epic tome poem comparing their love to that bridge, that wonderful bridge! And reading that poem you get a sense of the soul of that bridge, because it was built for love and for beauty. So there's more soul for you, we're getting closer.
Behind all surfaces, inside all mechanics, there are bits and pieces of a greater soul, enhancing and embracing the delusion of surface while providing the reason for life, for slogging through the physical strain of holding up a body, a form. Yet all is vibration, all is movement, all matter mere properties. So the mass is brass because you've got your head up your ass.
You can't go on forever, you know, pretending you don't understand the eleven dimensions and the folly of picking and choosing a few for particular attention, that's just squinting. Babies play peek-a-boo because it's fun. Mommies play it because it's fun and the baby laughs so sweetly. Neither is fooled by surfaces, no baby ever thought the mother was gone. The confusion comes when the laughter stops. A woman sobbing with her hands over her face, weeping over the covered up face of her baby, this too is confusion. This is a delusion of surfaces that can cause collapse. The knees get weak, the thighs tremble and the stomach sucks in a deep sob and there is a collapse, the bridge between two souls seems gone. This is confusion over surfaces.
When the last photo of the last bridge left behind by the last two people is dust, all of that, all of them, will be as the paint and shit that flowed downstream and stuck to the shore. Still there, just not so easy to see anymore, like a mother with her hands over her face, it's hard to see. And yet, it is because we are small and the rest is so big that we focus on parts and surfaces. But behind the fingers, behind the tears streaming down the face, is Mother and Children should know that. The covered up baby, the cold slab of meat and bone, this is not all there is to a baby and the soul has floated downstream to stick to another shore, but never gone. Even scientists agree things cannot be destroyed, only changed, and change is life, life is change.
What happens to the salt you put in the stew? It's in the flavor, in the smell. It's everywhere there is stew.
We aren't the meat, we're the salt of the earth.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
The sacred widow dons black and grieves
The desert children weep and plead
For someone to supply their need
But none will hear and done's the deed.
The circle's closed, the candle snuffed
The shaman asks, "Was it enough?"
The holy rivers flow dark with mud
The streets of Babylon are thick with blood,
Imams and pastors locked in hate
While angels sleep before the gate
And orphans slink into the night
To dance beneath a moon so white
And owls and jackals post the guard
Beneath a sky so brightly starred.